Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sovereign, Matthew Shardlake series

Happy Thanksgiving all! Find some time to relax and dream, pick up a book. 

I have put Ken Follett's book down and taken up C.J. Sansom's Sovereign.  The setting is the time of the Great Progress in 1541 when King Henry VIII is showing his power to the rough and rebellious northern sections of England where the people are still papists and are considered barbarians.  People in the north ard different, even their dialect is different. The "Great Progress" historically is after a great northern rebellion against the King, called the Yorkshire Uprising or the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536.  This is a time when Lord Thomas Cromwell has been executed for treason and Henry has moved on to wife number 5, Catherine Howard.  

I am only on page 40 and some of the same enemies of our narrator, Matthew Shardlake, introduced to us in Dark Fire are  mentioned in this third book in the mystery series, Sir Richard Rich, Stephen Bealknap, and the Duke of Norfolk.  Bealknap seems to be a fictional character unlike the other two. There is a new character in this novel, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.  He was a friend of Cromwell's and an activist reformer who had renounced the Pope and performed the wedding ceremony of the King to Anne Boleyn. Shardlake finds himself once again having to take on a job he does not like for another Thomas, the said Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer has charged Shardlake, known for his discretion, and his assistant Barak to go to the north of England to ensure that a prisoner and rebel, Broderick, reaches the Tower of London safe and healthy, ironically, so that they can torture him  into revealing certain secrets.  Shardlake, who specializes in property law, is also in the north of England doing arbitration work with a senior lawyer. 

So far there are no dead bodies, no mystery for Shardlake to solve.  I have been captivated by this series since the club selected the first book for the book club discussion this month.

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